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Top Tips for mastering video interviews

Posted by: Leilani Munday

Not so long ago, job seekers had to prepare for two types of job interviews: the face-to-face interview and the phone interview. In recent years more and more companies are using video chat interview, often as a replacement for the phone interview. According to a BBC article, in the US around 6 out of 10 HR managers now use a video platform to interview job applicants and now it looks like a growing number of UK firms are adopting a similar approach. Claire McCartney, from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) says "Video interviewing is becoming an attractive option as organisations branch out overseas.”

So with this in mind, here are some of the key tips to help you master the video interview.

1) Software

You should aim to have the video software installed and configured well ahead of time. Most recruiters use the free cross platform software, Skype. Cross platform means that you can use it from your computer, tablet or smartphone on Windows, Apple or Android platforms. If you are new to Skype, get familiar with its functions before hand, including opening and using a free account. We recommend searching YouTube for easy to digest tutorials. Once you have setup the software or indeed if you already have it installed, send your username to the recruiter so you are added as a contact.

2) Dress Head to Toe

Modern webcams benefit from wide and long zoom, meaning that the picture transmitted to the other party includes more detail than just your face. Therefore, you should address accordingly head to toe as if you are attending a face-to-face interview. Furthermore, time and time again studies have found that dressing professionally helps with creating the right state of mind for both the candidate and the interviewer due to a psychology term called ‘Embodied Cognition’. If your body is physically ready for the interview, then your mind is more likely to be ready too.

3) Choose the Right Environment

Unlike a phone interview, which can be conducted in many places, there are a few ground rules to adhere to when it comes to video interviews:

• The internet speed must be fast and reliable (broadband if possible)
• Access to a second backup device is recommended
• The area around you and behind you should be neat and tidy
• Background noise should be minimal (unrealistic to expect none)
• The area must be well lit, with natural light if possible

4) During the Interview

Make sure you look straight at the camera to maintain eye contact with the interviewer, otherwise you may come across as disengaged or distracted. You should have required materials within reach, such as a copy of your CV. Microphones in modern devices can be incredibly sensitive, so avoid moving papers around, tapping your desk or generating any noise that the interviewer may be able to hear. Finally but most importantly, switch off your mobile phone.

5) Practice Makes Perfect

One of the more useful tactics to ensure that you are comfortable attending this type of interview is taking a mock interview. You could practice with a friend, a family member or even with an agency recruiter to help work out any kinks in your technique.

6) Troubleshooting

If the interview stops mid-way due to a fault your end, we suggest you take the following steps:

• If the device you are using has failed, try an alternative device
• If your internet connection has failed, try switching between wireless to wired or vice versa or use your mobile phone’s 3g network instead
• Call or email the recruiter and explain what has happened and that you are trying alternatives
• Make sure you come across as a ‘problem solver’ and don’t give up
• If all else fails, suggest continuing the interview over the phone
• As a last resort, suggest a reschedule with a date and time

Good luck and we wish you every success in your job hunt!



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